SWC Bulletin Candidate Profile

SWC Bulletin Candidate Profile

Dennis touts economic development past…

By Katie Nelson Today at 3:00 p.m.

Steve Dennis

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series highlighting Cottage Grove City Council candidates. Find the other Q&As here.


Steve Dennis

  • Age:52
  • Occupation:  Small-business owner — Dennis Brothers Liquor, Inc.
  • Education:  Cretin High School 1984, Brown College Communications 1986, Inver Hills             Liberal Arts Coursework 1993.
  • Family:  Married to Kathy for 33 years, two children, one grandson, and our dog — Lucky!

Why are you seeking election?

I love working on behalf of our community and am dedicated to building upon our recent success including over $435 million in economic development (the all-time record), reduction of our commercial vacancy rate from 22 percent to 7.1 percent, and seeing the city accomplish a AAA bond rating. We’ve received accolades for financial sustainability and quality of life and I want to build on this.

Achieving the needs and wants of our community is very important to me. It would be an honor to bring additional resident satisfaction via community outreach and other efforts where we can partner together on a multitude of subjects including interests for our young families, our seniors and all in between.

What skills and qualifications would you bring to public office?

In my four years in position, I’ve served as mayor pro-tem, vice president of our Economic Development Authority (EDA), council liaison to the Planning Commission, Finance Committee, and Housing focus group. I have 30-plus years of management experience, and am a retired law enforcement officer with extensive background and commitment to public safety. I’m also a small-business owner well versed in principles that lead to operations and financial success.

What does the city need to do to ensure all Cottage Grove residents have safe drinking water?

I’m a strong advocate for innovative short- and long-term solutions for safe water for all residents covering our health and financial interests. I’ll leverage my commitment and connections to work collaboratively with state leadership and other stakeholders to ensure our full needs are met in a timely fashion. I also favor a municipal treatment plant so we can guarantee our quality and resources here at home.

Is the city doing enough to attract affordable and life-cycle housing?

We are actively positioning to achieve “full-spectrum” housing options through a number of ways including assistance from our EDA, use of TIF or incentivized financial structuring, and zoning changes to our Comprehensive Plan that allow different kinds of developments to be built. We have marketed to over 300 developers and continue to work with land owners wishing to sell so connections can be made. This is a top priority and I’m committed to seeing expansion in this area. Final details are currently being set on two new high-density “market-rate” housing developments that will join our community soon.

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